Chaos In The Aftermath

The Story Begins

Our tale began with the wizard Meriele on her way through Cormyr in search of her sister who disappeared during the Spellplague. On the road near King’s Forest Meriele rounds a bend and finds kobolds attacking a man and his wife. Meriele also hears a crying baby in an overturned wagon and decides to intervene. After a short battle Meriele, defeats the lowly kobolds and rescues the family.

The Man introduces himself as Mardak Milner and his wife as Eilnys Milner. They are traders headed back home from a trip to Eagle Peak. The Milners are surprised to see a wizard and adventurer on the road. Both have been quite rare since the Spellplague. They also notice she has a spellscar which was unsuccessfully attempting to hide.

Meriele offers to escort the Milners back to Fallcrest. The road is much more dangerous than it once was with the ranks of Cormyr’s War Wizards much thinner and the overwhelmed Dragon Legion also spread thin. The town has been under occasional raids by kobolds so the 60 or so guards at Moonstone Keep are busy protecting the town itself and the nearby roads are unprotected.

During the return trip the group is waylaid by Kobolds again but Meriele turns them back without much trouble. Upon their return to Fallcrest Mardak brings Meriele to the Nentir Inn.

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C'mon... Rats?!
How all good adventures start.

After Mardak takes her to the Nentir Inn, Meriele attempts to find a way to stay there with minimal expenditure of money (since she’s pretty broke). While Mardak goes to request a favor from Erandil, in order to repay Meriele for her kindness, she sees Serim Selduzar glaring at her from across the room. Selduzar recounts a bit of his background hoping to win the wizard’s sympathies, but instead comes off merely as haughty and sly. Meriele ignores his propositions to “take care” of the Lord Warden for him.

Mardak soon returns and tells Meriele that Erandil has agreed to give her a room at the inn for the week, but also has a small task to ask of her as well. Mardak leaves to return home to his family and asks Meriele to please stop by and let him know if there is anything else he can help with.

Erandil tells Meriele that he has not seen anyone looking like her that he can remember. He suggests that if her twin sister were a wizard as well that her best bet may be to talk to Nimozaran the Green at the Septarch’s Tower.

Erandil explains that he is scared of rats “with their beady eyes and whiskers and judging stares” but has been having a slight problem with them in his storage cellar lately. He has asked others for help but he thinks he may not be the only one scared of rats since “every time I ask someone to help out they high-tail-it to the door, stupid Silver Unicorn Inn and their rat free-ness.”

Meriele reluctantly agrees to help with the rat problem; she does need the money after all. The rats turn out to be slightly bigger and more aggressive than she was led to believe, but Meriele manages to vanquish the rodents and collect her reward. She heads up to her room to wash of the smell of rat poo and get a good nights rest.

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A Bad Way to Start the Day
Breakfast and Ogres Don't Mix

Meriele awakes the next morning and heads downstairs for some breakfast. She sits down unaware that a few tables over are another pair of unique visitors to Fallcrest.

Part way through breakfast, a number of goblins burst into the inn. Several of them carry torches and scream, “For Sinruth, For the Hand” as they light the inn afire. As patrons scatter, three individuals stand their ground and move to confront the attackers. Meriele, Ujai, and Baldur join forces and attempt to fend off the goblins. As the last of the creatures falls, the group turns their attention to the raging fire. With the help of Erandil and several patrons the fire is brought under control, but before it is extinguished the group hears screaming from outside.

As they exit the inn, they see more fires throughout the town and goblins sewing chaos. From around the corner of the inn, comes a large ogre pulling a cart with two goblin archers and barrels of flaming pitch. The party attacks and manages to fell the goblins but not before Baldur absorbs a massive pounding from the ogre’s tree-trunk sized club.

The group heads down a nearby hill to aid a quickly formed bucket brigade which has gathered to put out the last of the fire at the Nentir Inn. Once the fire is out the group heads back towards the inn; the unrest throughout the town has subsided and the goblins have been driven back. The group chats and previously neglected introductions are made.

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A Plea and an Interrogation

Before the day is over, a city guard approaches the Nentir Inn looking for the group that defeated the Ogre. The guard is pointed to the party which is still staying at the inn while Erandil understandably frets over the needed repairs. The guard informs the group that news of the party’s help and capabilities has reached Lord Warden Markelhey and that he requests an audience. The group agrees to meet with the Lord Warden and is escorted to Moonstone Keep.

Upon arrival at the Keeps library, the Lord Warden tells the party he has heard tale of their defeat of the ogre and of Meriele’s defeat of the kobold thieves. He informs then that the raid on the town caused much damage but that ”...this is much worse. We have had items of great value and significance to our town stolen and worse yet our own citizens have been kidnapped. If I may be direct… we need help to get our people back and I’m hoping that you may be able… and willing to help us. However, before I give you my official backing I must be sure of your intentions.” The Lord Warden is concerned with the safe return of his people but is wary of roving adventures. Their numbers have greatly decreased since the Spellpague and Cormyr is trying to maintain regulation over those that still wander the land.

The group learns more about Fallcrest during the Goblin Wars and about the Red Hand of Doom. The Lord Warden assumes from the banners flown by the attacking goblins and by the war-cries during the raid that someone has reformed the Red Hand and is bent on revenge against Fallcrest. He informs the group that the items stolen from the town’s Hall of Valor were relics from the Goblin War.

The group earns the Lord Warden’s trust and agrees to track the goblins and bring back the prisoners and relics. Though Meriele and Ujai are more leery about getting involved, Baldur’s noble words and intentions win over not only the Lord Warden but also the group. Before they depart, the Lord Warden also informs the group that a hobgoblin named Morrik was captured and is now in the stockades on the town green.

The group visits Morrik in the stockades and manages to acquire more information from him regarding the new Red Hand. He tells them, “Sinruth is our leader. He’s organized us and made us proud of our history again. Proud of what we did to this nasty town.” He also tells them that Sinruth has made them proud of their lineage again and that they were ordered to take prisoners to, ”...keep the undead horrors happy so that they would keep guard in the catacombs.”

He finally tells them that the goblins are using the catacombs under the ruins of Rivenroar Castle as a base of operations. The castle is about a days hike northeast of Fallcrest. Under some intimidation, Morrik draws the group a rough map.

The party takes a short rest and prepares themselves to track the goblins to Rivenroar.

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Into the Catacombs
The party sets out for Rivenroar Castle. Their day’s long journey across the countryside is mostly uneventful; the party manages to combine use of the rough map provided by Morrik and their own tracking skills to follow the goblin tracks to the ancient castle. Outside the castle, clear and conspicuous tracks lead down into a series of catacombs which serve as the burial chambers for the once powerful inhabitants of Castle Rivenroar. The group descends cautiously but finds a group of goblins and hobgoblins defending the catacomb entrance. After this and a short series of further fights, the group finds two captives, the dwarf Adronsius and the castellan of the Hall of Valor in Fallcrest, Sertanian. Along the way Ujai excitedly finds a Rod of Reaving and proceeds to punish her enemies with newfound joy.

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Deeper and Deeper
Greasy, greasy goblin guts

The party continues its delve into the Rivenroar catacombs. The group finds the body of one of the prisoners, Kartenix, captain of the Rivenroar guard. It appears the guards may have tired of his resistance and permanently ended his struggles; the ettercaps webbed his corpse to the wall. Before moving on, Baldur insists on cutting the body down and also considers bringing it along, but the rest of the group convinces him that perhaps it would be better to leave it for the time being.

As the group continues on, they manage to approach a hobgoblin and a drake without attracting their immediate attention. A successful use of ghost sound by the party wizard results in the group getting the drop on the guards and making quick work of them. In the next room, the party makes good tactical use of a balcony and a spiral iron staircase to make quick work of a group of direrats and goblins. Meriele and Ujai rain fiery arcane destruction upon their enemies while Baldur mostly hurls insults as he can barely manage to get his crossbow loaded. A final enemy lies in wait in the dark corners of the room once the group descends the staircase. Baldur is finely able to gets his hands dirty… really dirty. Baldur’s Divine Challenge keeps the goblin soldier focused while Ujai unleashes a devastating barrage that finishes with a critical hit on a nearly dead foe. The goblin explodes in a viscous arcane blast of dark crackling energy, covering Baldur in meaty goblin goodness.

The group finds Mirtala tied to an altar and suffering from filth fever. They manage to release her and cure her disease but Mirtala initially refuses to speak, being in a deep state of shock from her ordeal. The group tries to coax her back from her trance-like state with kind words and encouragement, but is only successful once Ujai decides to convince Miratala she can be trusted as the two had met before in Fallcrest. Baldur protests and wants no part in the lie, but is convinced it was for the best once Mirtala regains her senses. With an ever growing group in tow, the party sets off to find the last several prisoners.

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The Big Bad
Big, but maybe not so bad?

The group continues down into the catacombs. Baldur finds a magical sword but unable to identify its capabilities he decides to play it safe and temporarily sheaths the sword. The heroes soon find Jalissa who clings dreamily to the arm of her heroic rescuer, Baldur. While the rest of the group tries not to gag, Jallisa happily uses her arcane knowledge to identify Baldur’s magical sword, a Medic’s Longsword. Baldur heads off into the catacombs in hopes of finding some goblins to break-in his new weapon.

Sinruth

Baldur gets his wish and maybe more when he stumbles upon Sinruth, the supposed leader of the new Red Hand of Doom. Sinruth fights with reckless abandon and screams in furious rage, but his fury gets the better of him and he suffers several critical misses. The group manages to slowly wear away at Sinruth’s defenses while Meriele uses the terrain to their advantage and knocks Sinruth into icy cold Menhirs positioned around the room. Sinruth finally regains his senses and unleashes several punishing attacks upon Baldur. He is able to trip up Baldur several times with his spiked chain and viciously stomp him while down. Baldur recovers but not before Sinruth’s chain raps him up again, this time yanking him feverishly into his spiked shield. But just as Baldur’s legs begin to weaken beneath him, Ujai and Meriele unleash a torrent of magic that fells the goblin chieftain. The group exhales a sigh of relief as Sinruth’s body slumps noisily to the ground.

In Sinruth’s lair, the group finds two of the artifacts stolen from Fallcrest and a worrisome note on the chieftain’s corpse. The note instructs Sinruth to attack Fallcrest and sow chaos and discord. It suggests that he may take prisoners to appease the wraiths inhabiting the catacombs of Rivenroar. The note also suggests that there may be other factions of the Red Hand returning and that bigger plans beyond the raid on Fallcrest are in the works. The note is signed simply, “The Emissary.”

The party decides to sleep for the night and recover their strength, before continuing their rescue efforts. However, they feel some renewed urgency as the note suggests that hungry wraiths may be awaiting a feast of the remaining captives.

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Encounter with the Undead
Why don't they just stay dead?

The party continues on to find the last two captives. They soon stumble upon a scrying pool and after cautiously determining its nature, use it to determine that one of the remaining captives is nearby. The group moves into a darkened room, the only light provided by the magical glow from Meriele’s light spell cast on Baldur’s armor. As the group moves closer, they can see a young boy at the far end of the room. The boy realizes the group is comprised of rescuers and not captors and happily rises to great them. The boy might be dirty and tired but he seems to have weathered his captivity better than some of the other prisoners. He is especially happy to see that Jalissa is safe. Suddenly the boy interrupts the discussion and leaps to grab Baldur’s arm and full awareness: “Oh no they should be back soon, so stupid, I should have been paying attention.”

As Thurann finishes his sentence, a savage snarl is heard from the back of the room. In the darkness the party can barely make out Adronsius, who was hovering near the back of the group. Around his neck appears to be a pallid arm ending in a hand with vicious black claws. In the split second it takes them to make out the struggle the stench of death overtakes the group. Adronsius screams… “Arghh… you filthy beast, I ‘ll rip…”

But before the words can be completed, the ghoul bites into Adronsius’ neck and with a spurt of blood the dwarf goes limp and collapses. The other prisoners retreat into the dark corners of the room as the ghoul looks up from Adronsius’ limp figure and snarls. The battle with the undead does not go well. Baldur takes repeated punishment from two ghouls and is repeatedly immobilized. Meriele and Ujai manage to return the rest of the undead to the dead, but one remaining ghoul continues to harass Baldur. Nearing death, Baldur manages to recover and slash viciously at the ghoul. The ghoul, near death now itself, takes a final devasting bolt of crackling arcane energy from Ujai, once again covering Baldur in chunks of charred, bloody tissue.

As the battle ends, Adronsius begins stirring as the immobilizing effects of the ghouls bite begin to wear off. The boy suggests that these were the only guards he had ever seen in the area and introduces himself to the adventurers as Thurann, son of the captain of the guard. The group grows quiet as they come to understand the words’ meaning. Baldur decides to break the news of his father’s death to the boy. The boy is noticeable shaken by the news but manages to regain his composure. He requests that if possible they bring his father’s body back to Fallcrest so that he and his mother can give him a proper burial. Baldur readily agrees and Adronsius requests the honor of carrying the corpse, partially in hopes of finally feeling of some use to the group. After a few emotional moments, the boy tells Baldur that he knows where the final prisoner is being held.

Wight

The group discusses whether or not to head straight for the final prisoner or to continue searching for the remaining relics as well. In the end the group decides to continue deeper into the catacombs in hopes of recovering the stolen items before heading back toward the exit and the final prisoner.

A few rooms further in, the group finds the wight that the prisoners were meant to be sacrificed to. These undead go down much easier than those in the last battle, bringing a sigh of relief to the party. Baldur finds further delight in not needing to clean more fleshy remnants from his armor. After a quick inspection of the room, Meriele finds a Staff of Ruin and some additional gold. The group continues on and locates the last of the stolen artifacts. The group returns to reclaim Kartenix’s body and take a brief rest before continuing on for the final prisoner.

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Arrival at Spellgard
Stupid Magical Tower

The group awakens from a nights sleep at the base of the Storm Horns and begins their remaining trek to the Fallen Lands. After a half a days walk the group is waylaid by a pack of wolves. The ferocious animals, hungry for a meal gang up on Meriele in hopes of an easy takedown. The adventurers pull together and easily defeat the wolf pack. After fixing up their light wounds they continue on their trek. The harsh and desolate plains of ancient Netheril take their toll on the group over the remainder of the journey. Initially the group’s endurance holds up well and they easily find food and water along the way. Baldur celebrates the seemingly easy journey by singing songs of joy and happiness as they walk. However, the group soon happens upon harder times and the songs fade to dirges as the group tires and slows. However, just as the day seems its bleakest, the group finds a lightly worn road and spots a tower on the horizon that must be the remains of Spellgard.

The party’s spirits return and they approach the ruins of Spellgard with new-found hope. As they approach they can see the vast piles of Spellgard rubble and the impressive Scepter Tower still intact and looming overhead. The group spots the Monastery of the Precipice and heads inside after deciding it looks safe enough.

The group is greeted by Brother Allendi and cordially invited for a drink of the Brothers’ own ale. Brother Allendi asks the group various questions regarding their motivations for visiting the ruins and the monastery. After the group convinces him their intentions are noble and they seek no harm against the Brothers or their patrons, Brother Allendi offers to answer any questions they may have and shows them around the monastery. Allendi also provides them with a rough map of the ruins and shows them a wall scroll holding some of the writings of Kuryon. The group decides the scroll may contain clues for winning an audience with The Lady and they transcribe a copy for themselves.

Baldur leads the group in conversation with other guests of the monastery though Meriele and Ujai seem tired and ready for a good nights rest in an actual bed. The group talks with Thurr Gargengrim, a dwarf trader who values the monks’ ale and whiskey; Sister Cherra, a one time seeker of the Lady who failed to find her lost brother and who now helps Brother Allendi and the monks; and Millek the Thrush, a young halfling recently arrived in Spellgard. Millek seems more willing to try to con the group out of their gold than to share any useful information. She nearly talks Baldur into a game of cards but is finally dissuaded by a more pragmatic Ujai who begins a path of intimidation which Baldur takes up wholeheartedly in the end. Under duress, the halfling does tell the group that she has seen some movement in the battlement of the Scepter Tower though no one has ever supposedly been able to gain entrance. She also notes that she has seen several dark hooded beings skulking around the ruins recently, gathering near ruined columns. The adventurers decide to rest for the night and set out and explore the Scepter Tower in the morning.

Wight

In the morning, the group eats a hardy breakfast and then heads out for the Tower. The group sees that there is only entrance and as they approach, a sudden flurry of arrows rains down upon them. They see several dark figures on the tower’s battlement, seemingly readying another round of arrows. The adventurers determine they are too far away to battle their attackers so they make a break for the lone tower door. They reach the large, heavy, wooden, reinforced door as more arrows rain down upon them. The arcane energy of the tower feels even more powerful now that they are in close proximity. Baldur decides to knock on the door and pretend to be one of the dark soldiers. A voice answers from inside but is more scared to open the door without direct orders from someone named “Thoran” than they are of Baldur shouting through a heavy magically reinforced door. Ujai and Meriele attempt various magical means of entry to no avail. Ujai finally unleashes a wave of elemental and arcane fury that does not even seem to scorch the massive door. The adventurers decide to retreat as they continue to take heavy damage from the falling arrows. Upon their retreat they here shouts of triumph from the battlements; they return to the monastery crestfallen.

They converse further with Brother Allendi and the Thurr. They discover that no one is aware that the Tower is now occupied, and Allendi is highly perplexed as the tower has remained empty and impenetrable for so many years. Others have, however, heard rumors of the dark figures and Brother Allendi tells them that the monks have tried to find out more about the dark beings to no avail. He suggests they may yet try the camp of a man named Kal Clewsoro. He is leery of all visitors and not very cooperative but Allendi hopes the party may have better luck with him than the monks have had.

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Into the Ramparts
Wererats? What the heck are wererats?

The adventurers take Brother Allendi’s advice and set off in search of Kal Clewsoro’s camp, hoping that he has more knowledge of the strange happenings amidst the ruins. The group locates the camp and is met by a pair of guards. The noise the party makes trying to coerce the guards into allowing them entry attracts the attention of Kal Clewsoro himself. Clewsoro is short with the group and urges them to leave lest they start a fight; he has money to make and no time for their interests or those of the monks. While trying to convince Clewsoro to divulge anything he may have seen among the ruins, the party spots a Dark Creeper chained to a stake at the outskirts of the camp. Clewsoro tells them the creature and its plight are none of their business, but seeing an opening Ujai makes a strategic play on Clewsoro’s business sense and convinces Clewsoro to entertain their questions for a moment longer. The group finally chides Clewsoro into allowing them into the camp to speak to the prisoner, but Clewsoro posts a guard to watch their every move and only allow them only near the prisoner.

The group approaches the prisoner and upon a closer inspection finally realizes the dark creatures seen amongst the ruins must be Dark Creepers, beings rumored to live among the Shadar-kai in the Underdark, much the way as halflings are often found in human populations in Faerun. The creature wants nothing to do with the band unless they mean to free him. Baldur initially wishes to free the creature in exchange for information, believing that it is not just for Clewsoro to keep the creature chained up even if it was caught stealing. However, some urging from Ujai changes Baldur’s mind and he agrees to intimidate the creature, offering death now but perhaps a chance for freedom if he provides useful information. A masterful bluff on Baldur’s part has the creature spilling his guts and the group soon learns that the creature’s master, Thorin, has them searching the ruins for alabaster pillars as part of an unknown binding ritual. He also indicates that Thorin initially gained entrance to the Scepter Tower from the Ramparts to the north. Baldur again defends the creature and wishes to free it even under the watch of Clewsoro’s guards. Ujai again disarms the situation and convinces Baldur to leave the shadowy and guileful creature behind.

The group departs the camp and heads north to a section of the ramparts that are still intact. After some external scouting the group heads in through an unlocked door in a portion of guard-tower that looks recently repaired. Carefully moving inside they manage to sneak up on and corner a preoccupied (thanks to a well place ghost sound from Meriele) halfling who introduces himself as Malcolm Darano. He tells them he is a seeker of the lady and treasure in the ruins and that he is just looking around. The party has noticed what appears to be an alarm rope and they keep Malcolm cut off from it and cornered. While they do not attempt to intimidate or harm the halfling they are cautious and wary. The group continues their questioning as Malcolm becomes more edgy and skittish. Finally, he screams, “To hell with this,” and begins a frightening transformation. The party is taken aback and stands, mouths agape, at the sight of a wererat. The wererat lunges at the group but is shortly defeated, leaving the group wondering what just happened. Never having seen a wererat before the party is surprised that tales of such were-animals are true.

Baldur follows a hunch and leads the group to the top of the guard tower rather than across the rampart walls. The hunch pays off and the group finds a long lost room filled with mostly rotting and degenerated armor and supplies; however, buried amid the scrap they find several sets of magical armor which they quickly liberate from the musty room.

After some additional exploration, the group makes its way across the length of the ramparts following the alarm rope they spotted earlier. They carefully approach the door at the end of a long hallway and determine that the room on the other side is well occupied. The group bursts through the door in full battle form hoping to startle and intimidate but suddenly realizing they are heavily outnumbered. However, instead of being attacked, another halfling yells to the guards to stand their ground. Both parties stand facing each other weapons drawn in complete silence. The party breaks the quiet by slowly leaning in to whisper to each other while keeping their eyes fixed upon their adversaries. Meriele and Ujai want to drop some fiery arcane hammer on their asses while Baldur thinks that something is amiss and perhaps diplomacy may be better met. Going with Baldur’s approach, but still expecting a fight, the group attempts to speak with the halfling. They quickly learn that he too is a wererat and that Malcolm was his brother. The group manages to intimidate Borlem Darano without letting him know that they slaughtered his brother mere minutes ago. The halfling bends to their intimidation, knowing that they must have bested his defensed to get to him and agrees to escort them to a passage into the catacombs of Spellgard. He also tells them that Thorin had come through that way but knows not what came of him after entering the catacombs… tombs which Borlem forbid his brothers to explore after many of them never came back. Borlem escorts the group to a room leading to the catacombs but warns them that he will be prepared for their return and if they do come back his way it will be as enemies and not friends.

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